[Working Papers]

"The Impact of Transportation Costs on Interregional Inventor Mobility and Knowledge Flows"

Jang Woo Kim & Nicolai J. Foss

We explicate the microfoundations of regional competitive advantage by investigating the flows of human capital and knowledge when the transportation costs across regions are reduced by newly launched airline routes. We construct a dataset of interregional flows of human capital and knowledge between dyads of 362 U.S. mainland MSAs using the U.S. patent and inventor data to the U.S. airline data, from 1990 to 2014. To minimize the endogeneity concerns, we used two-stage linear squares (2SLS) estimation. The results show that the regions experience lower outmigration of inventors and are more active in technological innovation. Additionally, once we classify the regions as “core” or “periphery” on the basis of their patenting activities, we find that the technologically advanced core gains from lower transportation costs more than the technologically lagging periphery, which is in line with the agglomeration mechanism. 

"Strategic Alliances and Inventor Mobility: Evidence from the U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry"

Victor Cui & Jang Woo Kim

There’s no clear line between competitors and collaborators. A collaborator can also be your competitor and vice versa. Attention on the same domain (e.g. industry, technology) often leads intensive competition between the firms; and such an attention also increases the likelihood of alliance formation, too. This paper particularly spotlights the tension in learning alliances between pharmaceutical firms in the United States. In learning alliances, those ‘competitors turned collaborators’ often have a tension to collaborate more to create new knowledge and compete within the alliance to misappropriate each other’s knowledge, too. While sustaining collaboration with good faith and trust would help to generate more innovation, poaching of the partner’s corporate scientists is often a result of such an effort of knowledge misappropriation. To this extent, a learning alliance is usually founded on such an interplay between competition and cooperation, which shapes and nuances a firm’s attitude toward its partner/competitor. Examining an integrated dataset covering R&D alliances, corporate scientist mobility, and product market competition in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry from 1985 to 2008, we found that a firm’s competitive aggressiveness toward its alliance partner in the pre-alliance period positively affected the number of corporate scientists it hires from its partner during the post-alliance period. This main effect is negatively moderated by the geographical and technological proximities between the paired partner firms and positively moderated by the firm specificity of the partner firm’s knowledge-base.

"Stakeholder Orientation as a Quality Signal in the Labor Market: Evidence from the Post-M&A Retention of Newly Acquired Human Capital"

Jang Woo Kim 

Grounded on the instrumental stakeholder theory, this paper examines how firm-level stakeholder orientation as a quality signal decelerates turnovers of its newly acquired human capital (NAHC). While mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are considered as a channel of intaking human capital and learning, M&As are associated with the risk of unintended leakage of NAHC. Stakeholder orientation affects the ‘first impression’ of the acquiror, perceived by its NAHC, and then affects NAHC’s turnover intention because 1) it takes a certain length of time for employer and employees to discover each other’s quality and 2) most of the abnormal departures NAHC comparing to the other employees occur immediately after the M&A. Using a dataset of 22,805 corporate scientists as NAHC from 2,073 M&As, this paper has three findings. First, the turnover of NAHC is delayed if the acquiror’s stakeholder orientation is high. Second, in support of assortative matching mechanism, the main effect is greater if a NAHC has higher quality, which is proxied by the average number of citations received per patent. Third, the main effect is also greater if the acquiror and the target has previous history of strategic alliance, which had increased information efficiency and inter-firm trust between them.

"Heterogenous Gender Segregation of Inventors across Nations and Technological Domains"

Jang Woo Kim 

    This paper examines how women’s entrance and retention are different across technological domains with different pace of changes. Individuals in a certain field should keep their knowledge updated in order to stay in the field. As STEM fields change quicker than the non-STEM fields, individuals having higher risk of failing to update his/her knowledge less likely to enter/stay in STEM fields. Women having the risks of potential involuntary interruption (i.e. maternity leave) are incentivized to choose non-STEM fields where the knowledge updating is relatively slower. Also, as women in the more egalitarian countries would be less financially penalized by not choosing STEM jobs than women in the less egalitarian countries, women in the more egalitarian societies tend to avoid the fast-changing technological areas than women in less egalitarian countries. Therefore, women are less likely to choose quickly changing STEM fields, and this effect is more significant in the egalitarian countries. The empirical analyses using patent applications from 120 countries registered to USPTO finds that more egalitarian countries 1) are lower female share of inventors entering a specific technological domain only if the domain’s velocity of knowledge updating is high and 2) have shorter patenting life of female inventors only if her domain’s velocity of knowledge updating is high.